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November 25, 1994     The Message
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November 25, 1994
 

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By MARK PATTISON Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) The U.S. bishops unanimously approved a pastoral message on violence that calls for action to confront a violent culture. The approval, on voice vote 16, came daring the bish- ops' falll meeting in Washington. In the face of so much vio- lence, fear and polarization in Oar land,, said Auxiliary shop Gerald A. Get- will resume his Forum" ommen. ary on his Vision State- ment for the Diocese o EVnsvtlle next week. f tSlZop Gettelfiner par- ticipated this past week the rneetiny o* .... tn   j tne 1rational Onterence of Catholic Bi . ops, tn Washington, D.C. sh 1994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 shops unanimously approve message on violence olence from page 1 to Vote on the  segraents during the the third segment from consider- at the last minute, as proposed American of a massive project several years now, Sacramentary will until the bish- four additional the Swiss Prayer for arious Needs and Bishop John H. Ricard of Balti- more, chairman of the bishops' Domestic Policy Committee, "we call for a moral revolution which begins with a fundamen- tal respect for human life, which recovers a sense of right and wrong, rejects vengeance in the face of violence and which calls the nation to move beyond the tired prescriptions of both right and left." During debate on the mes- sage, "Confronting a Culture of Violence: A Catholic Frame- work for Action," bishops re- cited a litany of violence they themselves confront. Cardinal James A. Hickey of Washington said that "night after night" in his city, "mur- der is commonplace. Unfortu- nately, it is not restricted to the night." He added, "It is a city, sad to say, where there are more abortions than live births." Cardinal-designate Adam J. Maida of Detroit said violence is "pervasive everywhere. Bishop John J. McRaith of Owensboro, Ky., said to the no- tion that "violence is an inner- city, a large-city problem -- not so." He recalled how recently he was asked to lend his support to a Big Brothers-Big Sisters- type program at a rural high school in his diocese. "Is there a need for it? What goes on?" he asked. He was told, "There's all kinds of guns, there's all kind of drugs." "I said, 'In that small rural high school?' I'm afraid so,"' he added. Bishop McRaith added that on the block of his residence in his city of 50,000 people, there had been three or four murders in the past year. Auxiliary Bishop Peter A. Rosazza of Hartford, Conn., successfully amended the mes- sage to deplore "budget cuts adversely affecting the poor." Budget cuts "exacerbate tremendously the problem of people living in rural poverty or urban poverty. It leads to the increase of violence we have already seen in our soci- ety," Bishop Rosazza said. "It's almost like treating cancer in a society where the air is pol- luted." Bishop Norman F. McFarland of Orange, Calif., cited a link be- tween "lust and violence," and zeroed in on the hotel where the bishops conduct their meeting. It carries Spectravision, a pay-per- view movie system which offers several films, "a number of which are pornographic," the bishop said. He suggested the bishops consider taking their patron- age elsewhere. The bishops' message takes note of the many symptoms of vio- lence in American society -- from the way people drive to "verbal vi- olence in our families, communica- tions and talk shows." It also takes stock of the con- sequences of violence: fear that keeps people in their homes, the costs of crime, the growing numbers of guns and murders, violent incidents depicted on television, and more than 1.5 million abortions every year. The message suggests "fo- cusing on the moral and human of costs of violence be- tween Jan. 15 and Jan. 22." Jan. 15 is the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the slain civil rights leader; Jan. 22 is the anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision allowing abortion virtually on demand. n Occasions, as well as a provi- sional English translation of the text. They approved the establish- ment of a committee to develop a special forum on the translation of sacred texts, as well as an ad hoc committee on the directions CTNA should take. They also voted to extend most ad hoc com- mittees for three years. The 48-page health care di- rectives, approved on a voice vote after a flurry of amend- ments, look at such questions as abortion, euthanasia, care for the poor, medical research, treatment of rape victims, surro- gate motherhood, in vitro fertiliza- tion, prenatal testing, nutrition and hydration for the terminally ill and organ donation. The document breaks no new ground on those topics, but bring together in one document church thinking in those areas. The bishops elected Msgr. Dennis M. Schnurr, a priest of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, to a five-year term as general secretary of the Na- tional Conference of Catholic Bishops and U.S. Catholic Con- ference.The bishops also chose Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston for a three- year term as NCCB-USCC sec- retary and filled various com- mittee posts. On the meeting's first day, they approved a $41.3 million 1995 budget, a three-year con- tinuation of the collection to aid the church in Central and Eastern Europe, and the ex- pansion of membership on the Tri-Conference Commission on Religious Life and Ministry to include the recently estab- lished Council of Major Superi- ors of Women Religious. The commission, which will get a new name, was formed by and is composed of representa- tives of the NCCB, Leadership Conference of Women Reli- gious and Conference of Major Superiors of Men. The newer council of women's superiors was formed in 1992. Cardinal-designate William H. Keeler of Baltimore, NCCB- USCC president, opened the meeting with a talk that sharply contrasted the church portrayed in the media with "the real church in which we live and worship." A personal reflection: On being than00ui  ON yZIBA,._ TARy you don't have. It is an opti- granted the things we have they know God will provide thanks and appreciation when " ItAHAM JR. mistic world view where the today and assume they will be what they need. They are lov- things are going well, but the L. beautiful fall day, a break from to take a walk. ray friend to get He was sit- park bench exchange .s, I asked him had been dis- the an- ingly simple it had been )ung high asked me Was the most most important should develop or Over a lifetime. a respond to her ly, I told give the sub- and give her few days. After and delibera- SWer to her ques- elusive, Sought my I asked him on that had been and waited for an Yes, leaned and didn't seemed like he replied most admirable e thankful." He cin, but soon means being what you have aware of what glass is half full instead of half empty. This is what enables a person to be happy for others when they have good fortune, regardless of whether or not they worked for it or deserved it. It is being happy for the per- son who got the job you wanted even though you were more qualified. It means being con- tent and not envious when a neighbor strikes oil or wins the lottery. It means being grateful for possessions, however mea- ger, instead of resenting what others have. Being thankful is feeling privileged for your rela- tionships instead 'of thinking that others have the perfect spouse, parents or children. It means not being envious or jealous of others, but able to truly rejoice with them in their good fortune. Being thankful is having the ability to say "thank you  in- stead of "why me?" St. Paul en- courages us to always rejoice and give thanks in all things (I Thessalonians, 5:18; Eph- esians, 5:20) and this applies to good as well as bad things. This involves knowing that it is a special privilege to be in this world even though it in- volves suffering. To be thank- ful is to realize that life is frag- ile, everything is given to us and none of us has a right to anything. Often we just as- sume we have rights to things such as health and life and we forget to be thankful. Being thanlfful means to not take for there tomorrow. We sometimes take for granted that bad things happen to others and forget to be thankful for our gifts and good fortune. Why must we weep for a loss before we count our blessings. Being thankful turns a loss into a gain and makes us apprecia- tive for what we have. Being thankful for losses and misfor- tune is maybe the hardest thing a person is asked to do in a lifetime, but if we are willing to pay the price we will be re- warded. Being thankful for life's misfortunes is like an oyster making a great pearl out of an irritant. Thankful- ness creates pearls in our lives. Being thankful is being sat- isfied with who and what we are. In a time when people are suffering from unhappiness and low self.esteem, being thankful makes a person feel worthy and special. Feeling privileged gives meaning and fulfillment to human existence. Being thankful involves a trust in God and possession of the knowledge that he knows what is best for us. Thankfulness of his divine plan enables us to surrender our will to his will and accept with thanksgiving all he has for us. We are able to rejoice in who and what we are because we know that we are acceptable. Thankful people are able to freely give and freely receive with joy. They can receive the gifts God has for them and can give freely to others because ing, appreciative people who give freely, aren't afraid to be vulnerable and aren't afraid that someone will take some- thing away from them. A thankful person knows that it is impossible to out-give God and wants to share with others the expectation that more will be forthcoming. Thankful people are continu- ally aware of what blessings they have received in the past instead of basing their outlook on "what have you done for me lately?" Often good things that have happened to us in the past seem to fade in the pres- ence of adversity and we forget to be thankful. Somehow when things aregood, we think they will be good forever and when things are not going well for us, we think it will only get worse. A thankful person is able to change this pattern of thinking and realize that nei- ther good times or bad times last forever. It is easy to give truly thankful person gives thanks for all things even in bad times. Thankful people are happy, fulfilled, positive people who are enjoyable to be with be- cause they lift the spirits of those around them. They are overwhelmed by the blessings God has showered down upon them and acknowledge that God's true gifts are given freely for the asking. Even though many will dis- agree about thankfulness being the most admirable human trait, I have chosen it because without thankfulness, one cannot possess other great human traits. My wise friend paused for a moment, and I could tell he was about finished with his story. He ended by saying: "For a truly thankful person their only prayer is 'Dear God, thank you for your love and grace, that is all I need." YOUTH MINISTRY COOINATOR " ] Position opening, as coordinator of youth ministry among I several parishes. Background in Catholic education or stud- ies and some experience in Youth Ministry is required. Strong organizational skills required. Person must like and be supportive of youth in a multicultural setting. SalaD" commensurate with experience and education. Send resume to: Youth Ministry St. Joseph Church 600 East Virginia Street Evansville, IN 47711 I II I 1 [ II III li I